The Gift of Friends

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The Gift of Friends

God created Eve for Adam because it is not good for man to be alone. He needs a helper. (Gen 2:18) Man is a social being. He needs to connect with his fellow men.

Today social media is the fad. Many people connect with friends and relatives through FB, Messenger, Viber, What’s App, WeChat, FaceTime etc. Some connections are beyond time and space – through thousands of miles and decades of years. Some are new, distant and superficial relationships of acquaintances through mutual friends.

In the pandemic, social distancing is the new normal. It is also one of my biggest struggles – to be isolated and physically away from friends and family. I realised that it did not help my depression to be by myself – keeping all the dark thoughts and sadness inside me. My first step towards getting better is to be with a friend who cares; who took time to ask and listen to my gloom even when there were no words.

God since the beginning of time, initiated to have a relationship with man. He put his breath of life into Adam. He showed his glory to Moses – when he asked to see God’s face. (Exo. 33:18-23) Abraham was called God’s friend, credited with righteousness because he believed God. (James 2:23) David was known to be a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22)

As I reflect on this gift of friendship between God and man; the gift of friends – between man and man, here are some truths I learn:
1) Friendship is like wine – the longer it is, the more precious it becomes.

2) Friendship transcends time and space. My close childhood friends remain my close adult friends and we pick up where we left off even if we are thousand of miles across each other; even if we see each other once or twice every few years. Recently, I had a zoom chat/fellowship with my high school gang. For half of us, it ended midnight. For the rest, it was mid-morning. 4 from the US, 1 from SG and 5 in Manila. One friend observed: perhaps it would be like that in heaven.. where friends get to chat where we left off, as if it were only yesterday.

3) Friendship transcends generations and connects families. I am happy when I see my children are friends with kids of my friends, or when my father had my friend’s dad visit him. Do u know we have friendship of 3 generations in our family?! Our parents are friends, we are friends and our children are friends. I also treasure family friends – friends of my sister; of my husband; siblings of my friends And no, it is not necessarily between two big families… which brings me to the next point…

4) Friendship is not about quantity but quality. A few true friends who stick like a brother/sister are definitely better than a crowd of acquaintances.

5) Friendship is about authenticity and not about perfection. I can bare myself to my friend – my inner thoughts and weaknesses – the good side and the bad side – knowing that I will not be judged and will be accepted. On the other hand, in my imperfection, I can count on my friend to tell me the truth which brings me to the next point.

6) Friendship is also about critical acceptance. Yes I am accepted for my weaknesses but I am also told the truth for me to improve myself; to do better and be better. A friend is not afraid to criticise me because he/she knows I will accept his/her words just as she/he accepts me.

And what added blessing we have as children of God because we know ‘What a friend we have in Jesus!’ – all our sins and griefs to bear…

Take heart, dear Friend. Life is not meant to be lived alone. Reach out to a friend. Be a friend or seek a friend. A friend makes the load lighter and the way brighter.

Let Jesus be your Friend!

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